It is July and we are only 90 days from the start of whitetail deer season in Ohio with many states opening even earlier. The countdown has begun. Here are five things we can do in July to prepare for the 2019 deer hunting season.
1) Trail Cameras
It is time to get the trail cameras out if you haven’t already. While there is plenty of time for growth before bucks shed their velvet, the antlers are fairly well developed this time of year. Whitetail bucks are on their summer patterns so setting cameras on food sources is a great tactic to get those velvet pictures. July provides hunters a great opportunity to take an inventory of the whitetail herd. Just be careful not to check the cameras too often and put pressure on the deer before the season opens.
Glassing at a distance is a low risk, high reward proposition for the whitetail deer hunter. There is little chance to pressure the deer and we can enjoy watching and learning about the herd. Binoculars and spotting scopes are great for viewing bucks traveling from their summer beds to food sources in the evening. Just remember home ranges can shift when the velvet comes off, but the intel gained through glassing is valuable as we approach fall.
3) Shoot the bow
Enough emphasis on this cannot be placed. To be ethical, we need to be accurate. To be accurate we need to practice. Honestly, shooting should have started in the spring. If you are already shooting, good for you. If not, do not delay any longer. No matter if it is a compound, traditional, or a crossbow, you need to practice and be sure both you and your equipment are functioning well. Practice now will pay off when the moment of truth happens in the field this fall. Get out and shoot!
4) Check your gear
Take time to check and re-check your whitetail deer hunting gear. Take an inventory of what you have and what you need to get. Check the condition of the little things we take for granted such as headlamps, boots, gloves, tow ropes, etc. Organize all of your gear so that you know where it is for the season opener. Checking the gear now will reduce stress at the beginning of the season and allow you more time to focus on the tactics needed to harvest that giant.
5) Food Plot Maintenance
With all of the wet weather, perennial food plots such as clover may be growing out of control. A good practice is to mow these plots to help maintain their production. If it is dry enough to mow and the clover has grown to 12 inches or more, it is time to mow before the clover looses any more of the nutritional value to the deer. Beware, if the weather is too hot and dry, mowing may injure the plants and stunt their growth. With the wet weather in Ohio this year, early July may be the best time to accomplish mowing these plots.
The majority of the country is 90 days and under until the whitetail deer seasons begin. By taking the time now to accomplish these five action items now, we are stacking the odds in our favor of punching a tag in the fall.
Good luck everyone